During this Christmas season, one of my favorite things to do is take time and read and reflect on the birth of Jesus.
I love to read about the story of His birth, as well as all the events that took place before and after His birth. Each year as I am reading, the Lord seems to point out one particular person or event from the story that He wants me to spend a little more time focusing on. This year, that person is Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Not only have I loved learning more about Mary this season but there is also a song by Pentatonix called “Mary Did You Know,” which has been on “repeat” in my home over the last few weeks. The song not only describes the majesty of the One she is carrying but also gives great understanding as to why the angel Gabriel referred to Mary as “the highly favored one.” (Luke 1:28b).
As I read this verse over and over, I have asked myself, why God choose Mary to birth His Son and what characteristics about Mary caused Gabriel to refer to her as, highly favored and blessed. Here are a few of those characteristics, and I pray that these become more and more a part of my own life this coming year.
Mary treasured and pondered the promises from God.
Luke 2:19 says, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” One would think that once the angel Gabriel appeared and declared such wonderful things to Mary about her life that it would mean Mary’s life would be filled with remarkable blessed circumstances. However, that was far from the case, even on the day Gabriel appeared. Mary quickly realized that she would need to hold on to and remember Gabriel’s encouraging words throughout her life as she carried the promises of God in her heart.
Mary never shrunk back in fear or unbelief.
After Gabriel’s initial greeting with Mary, the angel went on to tell her that she would conceive by the Holy Spirit and bear a Son named Jesus. He revealed to Mary that her son would be great and called the “Son of the Highest” and would reign forever. Mary knew the prophetic Scriptures well from Isaiah 9:6, which says, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government will be upon His should. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” However, now Gabriel was telling Mary that she would be the one to bear the Messiah of whom the prophets foretold! Never do we read where Mary freaked out, ran away or did anything to shrink back in fear of unbelief. Just the opposite took place, and Scripture tells us that Mary
responded to these glorious promises with a willing heart for God to do to her as He had said. Although she did not fully understand, she trusted God’s leadership over and over again. She believed Him!!
Mary constantly grew in love, faith and humility. After Gabriel shared his message with Mary, she immediately began suffering many hardships. She initially experienced tremendous amounts of shame, for she was not yet married to Joseph but was visibly pregnant. In the ancient world, a broken engagement would require a legal divorce. If she had been with another man, Mary would have been guilty by law to be stoned. She and Joseph had to move from town to town to avoid being killed, and even many years later, people still accused Mary of things that were not true. Yet, even after each hardship, each trial and each misunderstanding, Mary continued to realign her heart with God’s words and trust God. When it seemed to cost her everything, Mary still said, “May it be unto me according to Your Word” (Luke 1:38).
Like Mary, I want to daily realign my heart with God and His promises and trust His leadership, even in difficult times. God’s promises are still real, and even in the midst of adversity or delay, He still uses these things for our good. Lord, please help us today to realign our hearts with You and to trust You and Your promises for us.
If you would like me to join you in prayer please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to pray for you!